Norway’s Mountains and Fjords
Norway is fast becoming the new ‘go to’ destination for the discerning cyclist, in part thanks to coverage from races such as the ‘Arctic race of Norway’ and the ‘Tour of Norway’. Each revealing to avid viewers the sublime natural beauty of this wild country.
From Ålesund, the bracing coastal town of our departure, to the climb of Sognefjellet, the ‘roof of Norway’ and highest mountain road in northern Europe, this is a trip full of contrasts. Amongst idyllic UNESCO listed fjords and the rugged wilderness of the eternally snow capped Norwegian high mountains; you will find some of the worlds most spectacular cycling roads waiting for you here.
Day 1: Arrive into Ålesund
Arriving at Alesund airport in the late afternoon, a private transfer will take you to our hotel in the start town of Aldalsnes, a journey time of around 90 minutes. Our mechanic will assist you in assembling your bike and after dinner our staff will provide you with relaxed briefing of the upcoming route.
Day 2: Åldalsnes – Geiranger
Major climbs: Trollstigen (875m) 12.1km at 7% (max 10%); Ørnevegen (622m) 16.5km at 3.7% (max 7.5%)
Beginning with the Troll road or Trollstigen as the Norwegians like to call it, it’s eleven hairpin bends and inclines of up to 10% may seem daunting, but its sheer beauty and spectacular waterfalls ensure its place as one of the most impressive climbs ever made for the road cyclist to tackle. Surely the quintessential bucket list road climb you just have to do in Norway!
After taking stock of your surroundings and marvelling at some impressive Norwegian architecture that doubles up as our coffee stop, we continue on through a mountain plateau before eventually descending amongst yet more vertiginous waterfalls and endless views of strawberry fields. Arriving into Valldalen nestled on the shores of Norddalsfjorden; we take advantage of the town’s micro – climate to have lunch overlooking the water.
A brief ten minute ferry crossing allows us to continue on our way to the southern side of Norddalsfjorden and our second difficulty of the day, the climb of Ørnevegen. By no means as difficult as the Trollstigen climb, we are however rewarded with as equally impressive views once at its summit, overlooking the UNESCO listed Geiranger fjord. After admiring the vista from the purpose built viewing platform from where we can imagine how the Eagle Road got its name, a series of hairpin turns allow us to descend into our destination for the night where a welcome spa awaits us in our hotel to help us relax from the day’s exertions.
Day 3: Geiranger – Lom
Major climbs: Djupvasshytta (1032m) 16km at 6% (max 9%);
With the first climb of the day coming straight out of the hotel car park and requiring a height gain of over 1000 metres up to Djupvasshytta, the length of today’s ride may feel a little disconcerting. However, once at the top the real beauty of the Norwegian high mountains can be admired as we pass the watershed between western and eastern Norway and continue along past the lake of Djupvatnet and the snowy peaks beyond. We are now above the tree line on a 1000 metre high plateau which we steadily descend over the next 75 kilometres following the Otta river on a perfectly surfaced Norwegian road, made to measure for rolling along as a peloton. After taking lunch by one of the valleys crystal clear lakes we arrive into the idyllic little town of Lom and our hotel for the night.
Day 4: Lom – Sogndal
Major climbs: Sognefjellet (1434m) 30km at 3% (max 9.5%)
The longet day of the trip begins with the climb to Sognefjellet which at 1434m, not only lays claim to being the highest mountain pass in northern Europe, but is also cited as one of the world’s most spectacular cycle routes. With 30km to climb, the early gradients are thankfully relatively shallow, it is only with 8km remaining that we tackle the real climbing, by which time the surrounding panorama of glaciers and mountains will surely have made the effort more than rewarding. We contiune over the ‘roof of Norway’ before plunging down the steep twisty descent of Sognefjellets’ towards the village of Skjolden and the innermost arm of the Sognefjorden which is often referred to as the King of Fjorfds. From here we ride in peloton skirting the tranquil shores of of Lustrafjorden and our base for the night in Sogndal.
Day 5: Sogndal – Norheimsund
Major climbs: Stalheimskleiva (373m) 2.1km at 12% (max 30%)
Our final day adds a bit of variety with a 10km individual TT to the harbour in Kaupanger to catch the morning sailing for our boat transfer through the Sognefjord to our ride start in Gudvangen. From here, our late morning roll out will bring us all too soon to what can only be described as a brute of a climb. Somehow the road engineers back in 1846 managed to squeeze 13 hairpin bends into this 2.1km climb. Stalheimskleiva really is a challenge to get up, as difficult to ride as it is to pronounce. But as northern Europe’s steepest road climb, bragging rights will be well and truly deserved once over the top.
The following roads thankfully allow some respite as we roll along in a group once more whilst predominantly heading downhill. After skirting around the edges of Voss we pick up the route of the famous Norwegian cyclosportive ride ‘Bergen – Voss’, albeit in the opposite direction. However, this allows us to experience a thrilling descent past the impressive Skjervsfossen waterfall before reaching our destination fjord of the trip, Hardangerfjord.
The remaining 50km takes us along National Tourist Route 7, providing constant views of water and snow capped peaks as we follow nature’s contours towards our final destination of Norheimsund. But not before one last little rise that allows us to end in style descending into town with a final series of switchback turns to finish off an epic journey through Norway’s mountains and fjords!
Day 6: Transfer to Bergen airport
After one last breakfast overlooking the fjord, you can then partake in an optional short morning ride with coffee stop, along the water’s edge. Or perhaps prefer for a more relaxing morning, before our private transfer of approximately 1 hour 30 minutes takes you to Bergen airport for flights leaving in the evening.
The Price Includes
- Private airport transfers
- Single room accommodation
- Assistance to assemble & pack your bike
- All meals and sports nutrition
- Professional mechanic
- Experienced guides & staff
- Professionally equipped support vehicles
- Complimentary products for use on the trip
- Client to staff ratio of 4-1